New To You Comics #117: All Hell Breaks Loose In ‘We Have Demons’

by Brendan M. Allen

Tony and Brendan have very different tastes in comics. Tony loves his capes, super powers, and sci-fi. Brendan tends to stick to horror, noir, and weird indies. Occasionally, their paths cross, but like most readers, they tend to stay in their own lanes.

New To You Comics is here to break up the pattern a little. Tony will throw some of his favorites at Brendan, and Brendan will hit Tony with some of his. Every NTYC title is brand new to one of them. Every once in a while a title will land with both of them. Most of the time they can find some common ground, but even when they don’t, it’s fun to watch them go at it. Brendan fights dirty. Tony kicks like a mule. 

This week, they’ll check out Comixology Originals’ We Have Demons, by writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, joined by inker Jonathan Glapion, colorist Dave McCaig, and letterer Tom Napolitano.

Here’s what Comixology says about the book:

‘Since the very dawn of man, legends have been told of the conflict between angel and demon-kind. Lam Lyle, a woman of science, dismissed these stories as just that–fiction. But when the loss of a loved one leads to the discovery of a hulking, benevolent demon named Hellvis, Lam realizes that her life is about to undergo a dire new direction. 

With a newfound partner and awesome powers now at her disposal, our hero suddenly finds herself thrust into a climactic war of good and evil with no less than the fate of the world hanging in the balance…’

Brendan Allen: Publisher’s blurb is a little misleading on this one. The first time we see Lam, she’s about to off her neighbors with a magic axe, in the name of a cult that is headed up by her father. The description technically covers the broad strokes, but I would have been WAY more interested in this book if they had sold it differently in the solicit. 

Tony Thornley: It kind of feels like story details might have changed between pitch and final scripting, and the solicit went from the pitch. Hell of an “en media res” opening though.

Brendan: This is a departure from what Snyder and Capullo are most known for, which is the New 52 Batman. We Have Demons does dip into the superhero tropes quite a bit, but they tried to get weird with it by introducing horror elements, cults, and religion.

Tony: I heard someone make a really apt comparison, and it makes perfect sense- this feels like Snyder’s Spawn. It’s a great synthesis of his superhero and horror backgrounds. He does some really great world building, more on the level of Wytches than his superhero work, and makes some interesting characters.

I actually wasn’t very excited to read this one, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Brendan: Capullo and Snyder have a pretty awesome creative synergy that we first saw in New 52 Batman. It’s on display here again. At this point, these two have been working together for so long that they’re finishing each other’s sandwiches. 

There’s a throughline of dark humor in the script, and Capullo’s art delivers on both ends. Splattery gore and humorous beats, all on the same page. 

Tony: That’s where I see the Spawn comparison is REALLY apt. It’s not a pastiche or parody, but Snyder does a really great job cueing up his artistic collaborators and playing to their strengths. In Capullo’s case it’s taking the over the top and exaggerated violence of Spawn, and combining it with how he grew while they were working on Batman and Metal… I think there’s even some X-Force in there with the group dynamics that he gets to depict.

Good grief, this is a fun book.

Brendan: Another thing that comes up, and we’ve beat this horse to death many times, is the depiction of kids in comics. So many times, artists will just reduce the height of a character, and call them a child. 

Capullo’s depiction of Lam as a child not only looks like a kid in the flashback scenes, her features are regressed in ways that make sense with her current look. It’s little stuff like that. She even has a little sideways smirk that she retains through every stage. Details, man.   

Tony: Definitely. McCaig also contributes a ton to that. She gets the same color palette through the entire story, even when she ends up in the all white team outfit.

Brendan: The outfits were a little too cookie cutter for me, and then Lam cracked on them, letting me in on the joke. It’s a slick little poke at the superhero genre.

Tony: Yeah, it was cute without being TOO cute. It’s striking the balance between cracks about yellow spandex in the X-Men movies and the more clever cameos in the MCU movies. You can see why Snyder is considered one of the top guys in the comics industry today, and his collaborations with Capullo just are two old friends who know everyone’s moves.

Brendan: Right on. I don’t think it’s much of a surprise that I liked this one. It’s a tight little grinder. There are a couple little things, but for the length, it’s a very satisfying read. Where’d you land?

Tony: It’s a very fun superhero/horror action hybrid. It’s not the deepest story we’ve talked about, but it absolutely would be worth your while. It’s the comics equivalent to a summer action blockbuster.

Brendan: That’s a great analogy. What’s up for next week?

Tony: We’re going to look at one of my favorites that I’ve read in the last year- Vault’s These Savage Shores from Ram V and Sumit Kumar. Ram is taking over Detective Comics this week and it’s the perfect time to look at his first book to make a big splash on the scene.

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